Austrian Court Orders Refund for FIFA Ultimate Team Players After Sony Lawsuit

A FIFA player in Austria who purchased an Ultimate Team pack was ordered by an Austrian court to receive a refund since the purchase of such groups violates Austria’s gambling regulations. The microtransaction practices of sports video games have come under fire recently. Players of NBA 2K23 criticized the makers for “greedy” monetization. Which requires players to spend more than $100 to upgrade a character. Players said this practice was unfair. In a similar vein, players of the Madden 23 community came together and decided to avoid purchasing “underwhelming” loot boxes.

In 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed against EA in Canada for operating an “illegal” gambling system. The case singled out NHL 21 and Madden 21 as the primary targets. The same year, a court in the Netherlands decided that purchasing FIFA Ultimate Team packs constituted a form of gambling. Also, the court ordered Electronic Arts to remove the bags from FIFA and threatened the company with a punishment of up to $10.9 million.

In addition, the verdict was overturned, and the Netherlands court lifted the astronomical fine in 2022. The players of FIFA went back to the drawing board and approached the issue of “illegal gambling” from a different perspective.

The loot boxes used in FIFA are illegal under gaming regulations.

The Games Industry states, “An Austrian court has found that loot boxes in FIFA violate the nation’s gambling regulations and has requested that gamers affected by this be refunded.”

A number of FIFA players who owned PlayStations decided to sue Sony instead of Electronic Arts (EA) because the loot boxes were purchased through the PlayStation shop. “More than one thousand FIFA players have reached out to the company with claims totaling approximately $854. There have been some extreme examples that go up to $97,000.”

The FIFA Ultimate Team packs were deemed illegal gambling by the district court of Hermagor. The reasoning for this decision was that “players’ capacity to sell cards on a secondary market means. Also, making a profit is feasible, giving the randomized products some financial worth.”

FIFA players can buy packs, open those packs, and then trade the players they’ve obtained from those packs on the Ultimate Team market for in-game currency. The judge ruled that Sony must return payments totaling $361.31. Although the company has the opportunity to appeal the ruling before it is formalized.

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